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BMW Z4: Buying guide and review (2003-2008)

BMW Z4: Buying guide and review (2003-2008) Classic and Performance Car
BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 Coupe BMW Z4 3.0 Coupe
Launched in 2003, the BMW Z4 roadster was the long-awaited replacement for the extremely successful Z3 - BMW’s first foray into the mass-market two-seater sportscar segment. Controversial Chris Bangle-era styling, electromechanical power-steering and the adoption of run flat tyres met with some criticism at launch, but the well balanced handling and great range of engines ensured that the Z4 carried on its predecessors success story.

With its focus on handling and driving dynamics, the Z4 earned itself a reputation as a great drivers’ car, the M versions in particular are already becoming modern collectors cars. 
 
Which one to buy?
 
There are a large number of engine variations to choose from, however the basic running costs for the non-M six-cylinder models are quite similar, making the larger capacity variants – which provide a decent hike in power over the 2.2-litre cars – highly desirable. The 3.0-litre model in particular is a great compromise between the full-fat M variants and the lower models in the range, and was also the only non-M car that was made available in Coupe form. 

The Coupe, introduced in 2006, is a significantly rarer car than the soft-top. Thanks to the much more rigid body structure handling is even better, while there’s a slightly more usable luggage space in the back too. Ride quality on standard suspension is very firm, meaning that cars with sports suspension and big wheels can be surprisingly uncomfortable on anything other than smooth road surfaces. 

The base 2-litre four-cylinder cars are eager, and not much slower than the 2.2-litre models. They also use much less fuel and cost less to maintain, so if outright speed is not a priority then these models are a great compromise. 

At the other end of the scale, the M powered Z4 is a different proposition altogether. Using the 343bhp engine from the heavier E46 M3, and with a full M-spec suspension system, the Z4 M coupe and roadster models took the fight straight to Porsche and Mercedes. The award-winning engine is one of the all-time great naturally aspirated units, providing a raw edged driving experience that will leave you breathless. Running costs are relatively reasonable for a car of this type, although certain M specific components can be pricey - especially if sourced from BMW.

Gearbox options were five-speed manuals and automatics on the early cars, with the facelift introducing six-speed variants. The Sequential Manual Gearbox was made available on a limited number of the 3.0-litre cars and while fun when pressing on, they can be jerky in town driving.

There’s a huge choice whitch means that you can afford to be picky, and it’s absolutely worth driving a few different models. The driving experience between a base spec four-pot Z4 and a sporty three-litre model is surprisingly different.
 
Performance and specs
 
Engine 2996cc 24valve DOHC I6 
Power 261bhp @ 6600 rpm 
Torque 232lb ft @ 2750rpm
Top speed 155mph (limited)
0-62mph 5.7 seconds 
Fuel consumption 32.8mpg 
Gearbox Six-speed manual
Insurance group 44
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 2495mm
Length 4090mm
Width 1780mm
Height 1300mm
Weight 1385kg
 
Common problems

• Parts are readily available and many maintenance items can be sourced from specialists.

• Suspension systems are generally reliable, however the springs are prone to snapping especially at the rear. Front control arm bushes tend to wear out and can be noticed by loose-feeling steering and creaking noises. Strut braces on the rear can break at the weld seams and will require expensive repairs. 

• Electrical systems are reliable, however some owners have complained of erratic wipers requiring motor replacements, which can be costly. Test all the buttons and switches inside the vehicle in case anything is amiss. 

• The interior is well built and there are no specific issues however the seats do rub against the body when pushed right back and can cause irritating squeaks when driving. 

• Engines are long lasting and should be smooth and free revving, especially the six-cylinder models. Power steering pumps can fail on early cars and the cooling system needs to be serviced regularly. The water pump can fail if the correct coolant mixture is not adhered to. 

• On M cars, check that the 1200-mile run in service was done, as failure to do so has been known to result in excessive engine wear. Crankcase ventilation oil separators can clog up and cause damage to the engine, but replacement parts are not unduly pricey.

• On convertible cars check the roof mechanism for any signs of slow operation or creasing in the roof lining. There should be no water ingress so any leaks may indicate an issue with the alignment of the roof or the side window fitment.
 
Model History 


2003: BMW Z4 launched in 170bhp 2.2, 190bhp 2.5 and 228bhp 3.0 litre versions. Five-speed manual and automatic transmission choices available, with SMG gearbox option available on 2.5 and 3.0 litre cars
2005: 215bhp 2.5si and 261bhp 3.0si engines replace older units resulting in lower emissions and higher power outputs. Navigation and heated seats introduced as optional extras, and SMG gearbox now only available on 3.0-litre cars. 2.2i six-cylinder entry level option replaced with 150bhp 2.0l four-cylinder engine.
2006: Mid-life facelift with new colours, wheel choices and minor changes to lighting. Six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes now available. Z4 Coupe introduced with 3.0-litre 261bhp engine,as wells as M Coupe with 343bhp M division engine.
2008: Final E85/86 Z4 rolls off the line
 
Owners clubs, forums and websites
 
• www.bmwcarclubgb.uk
• z4-forum.com
 
Summary and prices

Prices start at £3000-£4000 for the earliest cars, and as long as they have solid service and maintenance histories they can carry on forever, so don’t be put off by higher mileages. £6000-£8000 will get you one of the later cars. M Coupes and M Roadsters range between £12,000-£25,000 with condition and mileage being the biggest influencing factors on these cars.
 
The first Z4 has proven to be a great second-hand buy with reasonable running costs and styling that has improved with age. There are a lot of cars out there with a spec level and price to suit most people. It’s also a great way of experiencing the last of the old school BMWs, built before the motoring industry’s move to turbocharging and flappy paddles, so buy one now and enjoy it while you still can.
 
Words: John Tallodi
BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 Coupe BMW Z4 3.0 Coupe
Last updated: 4th Dec 2015
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BMW Z4
1650 28995 GBP
  • BMW Z Series 2004

    £4,995 £4,995

    BMW Z4 2.5i LOW MILEAGE  Black with white interior, mot till March next year, good condition nice drive and had only done 40k miles  please message if interested on 07871462626

    • Engine size: 2494
    For sale
    £4,995 £4,995
    FridayAd
  • BMW Z4

    £8,495 £8,495

    Air Conditioning, Bluetooth, Climate Control, Full Leather, Memory Seats, Powered Folding Mirrors, Xenon Headlamps, Alarm, Anti-Theft System, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Keyless Entry, Locking Wheel Nuts, Privacy Glass, Remote Alarm, Remote Central Locking, Alcantara Leather, Electric Seats, Front Centre Armrest, Head Restraints, Heated Seats, Height Adjustable Seat, Lumbar Adjustment, Sports Seats, Rear Armrest, Adjustable Steering Column, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Power Steering, Stability Control, Traction Control, Trip Computer, ABS, Air Bag, Brake Assist, Multiple Airbags, Side Air Bags, Twin Air Bags, Colour Coded Body, Auto Lighting, Front Fog Lamps, Headlamp Jetwash, Metallic Paintwork, Automatic Electric Windows, Electric Front Windows, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, CD Player, Radio, Stereo, 18'' Alloys THIS BMW Z4 COUPE FAST BECOMING FUTURE CLASSIC AND CURRENT RARE CAR FABULOUS DRIVE WITH SUPERB SERVICE HISTORY .

    • Mileage: 106000 mi
    • Engine size: 2996
    For sale
    £8,495 £8,495
  • BMW Z4

    £5,995 £5,995

    *** AWARDED BEST CUSTOMER CARE 2017 *** 3.0 Z4 with the Very Rare SMG gearbox. Specification includes Satellite Navigation, Power Folding Mirrors, Heated Front Seats, Electric Front Seats with Drivers Memory, Climate Control, MiniDisc Player, Cruise Control, Auto Headlights, Climate Control, Steering Wheel Paddle Shift, Trip Computer, 6 Disc CD Changer, Xenon Headlamps. 2 Keys. Full Service History with services recorded at 14k,31k,48k,67k,74k,80k and 82k. MOT 28th August 2019. Car is excellent condition, runs and drives beautifully. Call us to discuss delivery anywhere in the UK on this car. AUTOGLYM LIFESHINE DEALER - Ask About having this product applied to your new car. Have a look at our testimonials on our website to read more about us and the services we can offer our clients. Video walk around of this car available. 'Like' our page on Facebook for stock updates. This vehicle is HPI Checked. WarrantyWise Warranties Available for 6,12,24 or 36 Months. UK Nationwide Delivery Available. Finance Specialist - We have over 20 lenders available for all circumstances and will beat your banks quote. CarFinance247 and Zuto Applications are considered but are subject to an admin fee - WHY NOT USE US? - WE WILL BEAT THEIR FINANCE FIGURES! FINANCE & DRIVE AWAY ON THE DAY. Nice Part Exchanges Considered. View our website - WWW.GEORGEKINGSLEY.CO.UK - Prestige & Performance Specialist - AWARD WINNING DEALER - BEST CUSTOMER CARE 2017 - All Vehicles Supplied with One K

    • Mileage: 83247 mi
    • Engine size: 2979
    For sale
    £5,995 £5,995
  • BMW Z3 2.8 Roadster

    £3,995 £3,995

    BMW Z3 2.8 Roadster with 93,507 miles on the clock. Great sounding and looking clic M sport car that still drives great in a spectacular colour!17” Alloy wheelsBluetooth stereo/ DAB RadioFull service history with receiptsLog bookFull leather interiorAirbagsABSHeated seatsCentral lockingElectric windowsElectric soft top roofNew seat bushes just replaced on drivers side - comes with spare set 10 Months MOT All work completed related to previous MOT failure and additionally a new steering rack fitted this month

    • Mileage: 93500 mi
    • Engine size: 2793
    For sale
    £3,995 £3,995
  • BMW Z4 2.5 Si Sport M

    £5,795 £5,795

    2006 BMW Z4 in very rare Phoenix Yellow. Only one private former keeper before me, 58000 miles with full documented Cooper BMW main dealer service history, factory fitted M-tech interior, M-tech steering wheel, wind breaker, heated sports seats, rear parking sensors, 18 inch Ellipsoid alloys with Bridgestone Potenza tyres, electric roof which opees of the key fob, climate control, electric windows and mirrors, sports mode button  garaged from new, excellent condition throughout, very reluctant sale. 

    • Mileage: 58000 mi
    • Engine size: 2497
    For sale
    £5,795 £5,795
  • BMW Z4

    £14,850 £14,850

    Variant name:Roadster Special Editions M Sport Highline Edition ,Derivative:M Sport Highline Edition ,Variant: 30i sDrive M Sport Highline Edition 2dr Auto Stunning BMW Z4 3.0 30i M Sport Highline sDrive 2dr Finished in Alpine White with contrasting Black Kansas Leather Fantastic Features Including, Upgrades - Seat Heating, bluetooth, Standard Features - Automatic Air Conditioning with 2-Zone Control, Start-Stop Button, Alarm System (Thatcham 1) with Remote Control, Alloy Wheels-19in M Light Double-Spoke Style 326M, BMW Professional Radio with Single CD Player (with MP3 Playback Capability), AUX, DVD Preparation, Bluetooth Telephone Audio Connection, Bluetooth Telephone Preparation With Telematics, Electronic Windows - Front and Rear with Open/Close Fingertip Control, Anti-Trap Facility and Comfort Closing Function, Hill - Start Assistant, Kansas Leather Upholstery, Tyre Puncture Warning System (TPWS), navigation BMW professional media, sports automatic transmission, 19" M light double spoke alloys.

    • Year: 2011
    • Mileage: 52000 mi
    • Engine size: 3
    For sale
    £14,850 £14,850
  • BMW Z3

    £1,650 £1,650

    soft top, X-reg, 2.0L, dark blue, 94,500 miles, MoT September 2019, good condition. £1650. 01892 655970 Crowborough

    For sale
    £1,650 £1,650
  • BMW Z4

    £15,950 £15,950

    Climate Control Air Conditioning, Heated Seats, Bluetooth, DAB Digital Radio, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Paddle Shift, Auto Lights, Start/Stop, Daytime Running Lights, Xenon Headlamps, Parking Sensors, ABS, Traction Control, DSC-Dynamic Stability Control, Power Steering, Remote Central Locking, Alarm, Electric Windows, Electric Mirrors, Multiple Airbags, CD Player, AUX/USB 2 Owners, Full Black Kansas Leather, Remote Controlled 2 Piece Retractable Hard Top, 18 Inch Star-Spoke Style 325M Alloy Wheels, Full BMW Service History, 8.6% APR Finance Available

    • Mileage: 56000 mi
    • Engine size: 1997
    For sale
    £15,950 £15,950
  • BMW Z4

    £3,995 £3,995

    Power Hood, Air Conditioning, Half Leather, Power Steering, Electric Windows, Electric Mirrors, CD Player, ABS, Multiple Airbags, Central Locking, Colour Coded Body, 17'' Alloys BMW Z4 2.5I CONVERTIBLE 2DR, BLACK, HALF LEATHER, 110,335 MILES, AIR CON, CD PLAYER, E/WINDOWS, C/LOCKS, ABS, MULTI AIR BAGS, AUX, USB, E/MIRRORS, COLOUR CODED BODY, 17'' ALLOY WHEELS, SUSSEX, EAST SUSSEX, EASTBOURNE, BN23 6PJ

    • Mileage: 110335 mi
    • Engine size: 2494
    For sale
    £3,995 £3,995
  • BMW Z4

    £13,990 £13,990

    One Owner, 18'' Alloy Wheels, Full Grey Leather, Heated Seats, Radio, CD Player, Bluetooth, Air Conditioning, Climate Control, Trip Computer One Lady Owner From New. Extremely Low Mileage With A BMW Service History. Last Serviced With BMW In August This Year. Very High Specification Which Includes, Full Pearl Grey Oregon Leather Interior, Electrically Adjustable Heated And Memory Seats, 18'' Alloy Wheels, Radio CD, Media Input, Bluetooth, Bi Xenon Headlights, Auto Lights And Wipers, 6 Speed, Electric Folding Mirrors, Electric Windows, Piano Black Interior Trim, Park Distance Control, Multi-Function Steering Wheel, Sun Protection Glass, Enhanced Bluetooth, Remote Central Locking, Power Steering, Alarm, Immobiliser. 2 seats, Black Sapphire Metallic, We Are A Family Run Business Specialising In Sports, Prestige And Performance Cars. Ideally Located On The Border Of Hampshire, Surrey And West Sussex. Our Showroom Is Situated A Stones Throw From The A3 And The London Waterloo To Portsmouth Train Line. All Vehicles Are HPI Checked And Come With A Comprehensive 6 Month Warranty Which Can Be Extended. We Offer Hire Purchase And PCP Finance Packages At Very Competitive Rates. Pleased To Be Approved Under The Hampshire Trading Standards 'Buy With Confidence' Scheme, Open Monday 09.00-19.00, Tuesday To Saturday 09.00-17.30 & Sundays 10.00-16.00.

    • Mileage: 22075 mi
    • Engine size: 2996
    For sale
    £13,990 £13,990
  • BMW Z4

    £12,000 £12,000

    Two Owners, Service History, Alloy Wheels, Heated Seats, Parking Sensors, Power Hood, Automatic Electric Windows, Full Leather, Push Button Start, Electric Mirrors, Steering Wheel Audio Controls, Air Conditioning, Bluetooth, Power Steering, Dual Climate Zones, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Remote Central Locking, Height Adjustable Seat, Rear Headrests, Adjustable Steering Column, Traction Control, Trip Computer, ABS, Twin Air Bags, Front Fog Lamps, Metallic Paintwork, CD Player, Radio, Stereo, USB Connectivity, We provide an Inclusive Parts & Labour Guarantee, Extended Warranty Available at Cost, Alloy wheels, Service history OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK - A SELECTION OF UP TO 200 CARS AND VANS AVAILABLE. Click on dealer 'VISIT WEBSITE' link for many more large photographs of this car. We are a West Sussex Trading Standards Approved 'Buy with Confidence Dealership'.

    • Mileage: 51991 mi
    • Engine size: 1997
    For sale
    £12,000 £12,000
  • BMW Z4 Z4 SDRIVE23I ROADSTER 2011 Manual Petrol White

    £11,490 £11,490

    BMW Z4 2.5 23i sDrive 2dr;FBMSH Low Miles Immaculate;2011 (61 reg), Convertible;31,970 miles;Manual;2497cc;Petrol;Full BMW Service History Nice Low Miles and in Great Condition., Next MOT due 30/03/2019, Full dealership history, Excellent bodywork, Interior - Excellent Condition, Air-Conditioning (Automatic), Alarm, Alloy Wheels (17in), Computer (Driver Information System), Electric Windows (Front/Rear), In Car Entertainment (Radio/CD/MP3), Tyre Pressure Control, 17in Light Alloy Star-Spoke Style 290, Adjustable Steering Column/Wheel, Remote central locking. 2 seats, Solid White, Full BMW Service History. Comes Complete with Both Remote Keys and Full Original Book Pack. HPI Clear and Ready to Drive Away. Please be aware that the specification of the vehicle above can sometimes differ as a result of the use of third party data., Opening Times, 9-6pm Monday to Friday , 9-4pm Saturday , Closed Sundays, Other times available by prior appointment., Finance Arranged Fully FCA Authorised, GBP 11,490 p/x welcome

    • Mileage: 31970 mi
    • Engine size: 2.497
    For sale
    £11,490 £11,490
  • BMW Z4

    £2,950 £2,950

    Air Conditioning, Full Leather, Power Steering, Stability Control, Traction Control, Trip Computer, ABS, Air Bag, Alarm, Anti-Theft System, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Colour Coded Body, Stereo, Radio, CD Player, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, Brake Assist, Heated Seats, Head Restraints, Metallic Paintwork, Front Fog Lamps, 2x Car Keys, UK Supplied, UK Specification, Long MOT, Power Hood, Locking Wheel Nuts, Remote Central Locking, Adjustable Steering Column, Alloy wheels, Full service history

    • Mileage: 87903 mi
    • Engine size: 2171
    For sale
    £2,950 £2,950
  • BMW Z4

    £14,995 £14,995

    *SIMILAR QUALITY CARS ALWAYS REQUIRED* SOLD Thinking of selling? Our proven commission sale or SOR (Sale or Return) program is a great way to utilise and access our professional services and facilities while still maximising the return from your vehicle with minimal hassle, stress and time, If you’d like to take advantage of this then please get in touch for further information. Alternatively If you’d like to move your vehicle on quickly and efficiently with minimal delay then we can make an offer on an outright purchase basis with payment and collection arranged soon after. An outstanding BMW E86 Z4 3.0Si Sport Coupe with just 18,929 miles. EQUIPMENT M Aerodynamic Bodystyling, M Sports Suspension, front and side airbags, automatic stability control + traction (ASC+T), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Driving Dynamics Control (Sport Mode), auto headlamps, heated screenwasher nozzles, Park Distance Control (PDC), M leather multi-function steering wheel, electric M Sports seats with memory, automatic climate control, auto wipers. Factory options: Comfort Package, Sun Protection Glass, seat heating, enhanced Bluetooth functionality. Dealer options; BMW paint protection kit. EXTERIOR This range topping Z4 3.0Si Sport finished in stunning Black Sapphire Metallic, (Code 475), has covered an incredibly low 18,929 miles from new with just two owners (Brothers). Commensurate with such low mileage and strict garage storage, the gleaming paintwork boasts a near flawless finish with absolutely no dings, scuffs or damage. All trim sections, Sun Protection Glass, lights and badges are as new and BMW main dealer number plates and rear screen sticker are fitted. The underside and all wheel arch apertures are beautifully clean. This muscular and imposing Z4 3.0Si Sport is a desirable model and the example presented here is far superior to the usual offerings. A cult classic in the making. INTERIOR Striking Dream Red Oregon Leather, (Code LAT5), wraps around the near perfect M Sports Seats which are hugely supportive, comfortable and perfect for both long distance touring and enthusiastic cornering. The electric memory seats with three stage seat heating operate seamlessly, as do all other functions and controls. The high-quality materials and brushed aluminium to the fashionable sculptured fascia are in pristine order, as is all switchgear and unworn M leather multi-function steering wheel. The carpets are spotless having been protected from new by genuine BMW over mats. A preserved and ergonomically superb interior. ENGINE & TRANSMISSION A true performance contender with the coveted straight six magic that has become synonymous with BMW. Displacing 2996cc, power output is quoted at 265bhp at 6600rpm and 315Nm torque at 2750rpm, and performance figures are impressive at 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds with electronically limited top speed of 155mph. Under bonnet splendour is guaranteed as the area is spotlessly clean, exactly as it left the production line with all correct stickers and identification plates in pace. The preferred 6-speed manual gearbox is precise with a short throw. WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES Standard Sport 18in BMW light-alloy double spoke wheels are in perfect order with as new BMW centre caps. The original Bridgestone Potenza tyres measuring 225/40 R18 and 255/35 R18 front and rear respectively have excellent tread remaining. The BMW tool roll is present and complete. The high-performance braking system featuring Dynamic Brake Control (DBC) and Cornering Brake Control (CBC) is everything you would expect of this ultimate driving machine, powerful and safe. HISTORY FILE Built in September 2006 and supplied new by Main Dealer John Clark BMW Ltd of Aberdeen on the 10th March 2007, this example was purchased new by Mr Rory Donnelly. A BMW print out reveals a purchase price of £33,215 excluding on the road charges. Mr Donnelly also specified the expensive BMW paint protection kit which is still in the original BMW rucksack. The original BMW leather wallet houses all handbooks, guides and dealership literature as well as the service booklet. The most recent service entry by BMW Main Dealer, Sycamore Peterborough, is April 2018 at 18,846 miles and there is the corresponding BMW invoice in the history file. Further BMW invoices and previous MOT certificates are held within the history file along with two BMW keys and the master key blade. The second owner was Mr Donnelly’s Brother, Kevin, who purchased the car for his wife in January 2018. However, Kevin, an avid tractor collector could not resist the urge to part exchange the BMW for our 1985 Massey Ferguson 20B! A fabulous opportunity to purchase one of the best low mileage examples available. A truly exceptional car. MOT January 2019, HPI Clear. To see a video of this car please copy the link below: https://youtu.be/VacclLduGfg To see a complete set of photographs of this car please copy the link below: https://flic.kr/s/aHskxJSdZZ 'Like us' or 'Follow us' for exciting new cars coming soon at KGF Classic Cars: https://www.facebook.com/KGFClassiccars https://twitter.com/KGFClassicCars

    • Year: 2007
    • Mileage: 18929 mi
    • Engine size: 3
    For sale
    £14,995 £14,995